The above is spot on
Originally Posted by Bloodhound
Interesting discussion... I may be completely wrong but my understanding has always been that a bowsprit and extra headsails were there to allow one to drive a heavy displacement
hull (or heavily laden ship in the days of sail) faster in modest winds. It's hardly worth saying that any
rig needs to be balanced, as much under full sail as in various stages of shortened sail. Most "modern" boats don't have them because they're not heavy. If they're heavy, they usually have a bowsprit and cutter
rig (at least, and sometimes 3 headsails on a longer boat). I guess I don't understand the question, "Are bowsprits bad?". They have a purpose and a range of applications. When used within that range they're excellent; outside that range they're functionally useless. And in my view everything on a boat must be functional
---pretty and looks don't qualify. Boy, am I narrow-minded or what?
. Heavy boats need more power without adding displacement. Bowsprits are the standard answer when the designer
runs out of the stability needed for a bigger stick.
Modern lightlight boats don't need the additional power.
Bowsprits are great when you need the power, and not so great when you don't because of the anchoring
complications. (OTOH, I dinged my bow when I didn't have the bowsprit, but now I never do no matter how sloppy seas are when we pull up the hook.)
Also, bowsprits are a neat way of reducing sheeting angles without moving the sheets
inboard. That allows for wider shroud
angles thereby strengthing the rig without giving up windward performance from too-wide sheeting angles. I think this is generally underappreciated.